Michigan State Police Troopers monitor traffic along M-44 in Belding, near a shooting that left one male suspect dead on Jan. 5, 2013. Photo courtesy: Cory Smith/ The Greenville Daily News
UPDATE (11:00 p.m. Saturday)-- Relatives are identifying the Greenville man who sparked an officer involved shooting early Saturday morning.
A nephew says 55-year-old Bud Rawley Junior died during a gunfight with a Belding officer, who is now on paid administrative leave.
The incident started outside the Belding Police Department just after 5 a.m., when police heard a couple of popping sounds coming from outside. Those popping noises were bullets being fired into the window of a parked police cruiser. Investigators say the man firing the shots got into a van and started driving away. A Belding officer followed him while calling for back-up. When a state trooper caught up to the two vehicles, detectives say the suspect parked near the intersection of M-44 and Hawley Highway, got out and fired at the officers. One bullet hit the police cruiser. The Belding officer returned fire, killing Rawley.
Although police aren't sure what sparked the gunfire, Rawley's nephew believes he had a mental breakdown, after a long battle with depression.
"Bud was a great guy. He was. And something changed when Aunt Diane passed away; something changed in him," said Jerry Wright, Rawley's nephew. "He was a good man. What happened here was a tragedy. But when sick people get sick, you never know what's going to happen."
A separate officer tells our partner, The Greenville Daily News that this is the first time during his 11 years of service that the Belding Police Department has had an officer-involved shooting.
Detectives say they had a hard time getting the suspect's name because he was not carrying any identification.
BELDING, Mich. (WZZM) -- Michigan State Police are investigating an officer involved shooting in Ionia County that left one man dead.
It started at approximately 5:12 a.m. Saturday, when police heard two loud noises outside the Belding Police Department. An officer exited the station to investigate and noticed damage to a police car and a man entering a van. The officer followed the van and called for backup.
Michigan State Police say the officer and a trooper stopped the van on Belding Road near Hawley Road around 5:20 a.m. Investigators say the suspect then got out of the van and fired at the officers. The Belding police officer returned fire, hitting the driver at least once. The suspect died at the scene.
Michigan State Police say no officers were injured in the incident. They're withholding the identities of the officers involved and the suspect.